“Would you plant a seed in your garden, and dig it up each day to check on it’s progress? That’s like optimising your Google campaigns too early in your onboarding process.”Anon. Infinity Nation Interview Candidate 2022
Reflecting on the Google Partner session yesterday, it was plain to see where it’s easy to concede to the pressure of not seeing results from your campaigns quickly enough or to clients’ requests to update messaging. We know it’s best practice to allow digital campaigns across platforms (not just Google Ads) to build history and learn, but yesterday Google delivered a firm message that with their AI-based learning models, this is critical for success and achieving your goals.
The Google Partner event we attended was focused on “Unlocking Action and Discovery”. Since our Front Foot webinar we’ve been repositioning our strategies with clients and stressing the importance of building visibility, to prospective customers, not just focussing on the tactics and channels that have delivered in the past. In the face of change, we know that consumer behaviours will change, and therefore we’ll need to keep adapting to maximise results for our clients and reach the right audiences.
We know that Google love to pitch the shiny things, so went into the session fully expecting the sales pitch, but having seen great success from Performance Max and Discovery campaigns from our client base, we opened our minds and took lots of learning away.
The Event focused on the following 4 areas:
- Unlocking demand with Video Action and Discovery Ads
- Tailoring Marketing Objectives
- Campaign Setup and best practices
- Measurement and Optimisation
1. Unlock demand with Video Action and Discovery Ads
- The conversion funnel is NOT just a 3-step funnel anymore
- Right from first-interaction to post-sale, it is a continuous process
- All these actions create brand exposure for the consumer that defines his experience with the brand
- Advertisers running video ads along with search ads observe 8% higher conversions and a 4% drop in CPA
- Those running discovery campaigns observe a 12% increase in conversions from search campaigns.
“When video ads are used along with search ads, 60% of Google’s customers see incremental conversion at OR BELOW their original CPA.”Google Partner Event; Google Data
Use of Custom audiences and allowing machine learning to learn from the real-time data and actioning ad decisioning based on data-driven network stitching is key for success. There was a real emphasis from Google, and as we share from our own client experiences, the emphasis needs to be on reviewing overall account performance rather than considering individual campaign performance.
2. Tailoring marketing objectives
- Define (and stick to) the KPI of the account and then tailor your campaigns accordingly
- If your KPI is to improve overall efficiency, use Maximised Conversions as your go-to strategy and then you can later shift to a Target CPA goal
- If the KPI is the efficiency of the campaign, the go-to strategy is to Maximise Conversion value, which can later be set as an efficient Total ROAS (TROAS)
- In both cases it is very useful to showcase the product feed, this gives customers more information about the brand and the product vs a static creative.
Lots of this is down to your personal optimisation preference, but we’ve seen success with flipping the campaign objective after the initial learning phase. Similarly more and more of our clients are adopting a total ROAS KPI for all e-commerce marketing, which is great to see and gives lots more scope for proving the upper-funnel campaign types have a role in growth of overall online revenue.
3. Video Action: Campaign set up and best practices
- You need a Google Merchant Center account with active product feeds and approved product items to run Video action campaigns
- Include product feeds with video action campaigns
- Video action campaigns are best used to generate leads, traffic or conversions
- Use value bidding strategies like tCPA or tROAS for maximum efficiency from the campaign
4. Measurement and optimisation
- The first priority for measuring success of any campaign or marketing strategy is to have the right tracking solution in place
- It is important to not only measure the clicks and conversions but observe the overall picture
- It is ideal to assess the performance holistically on an account level rather than at an individual campaign level
- View through conversions play a key role while running video-based campaigns > find these in the Ads dashboard (they aren’t in Google Analytics)
- Enabling the enhanced conversion feature on Ads dashboard helps Google to recover conversions not tracked or blocked by various limiting factors
- The key parameters for setting up discovery and video action campaigns should be audience, bids and budgets, measurement, and optimisation.
Advertisers using enhanced conversions see a 175% increase in measured conversions on YouTube.Google Data
Since these campaigns also contribute to the overall user journey helping that conversion most of the time due to the current attribution model set up, its importance is not reflected in true terms. Shifting to a Data-driven attribution model is a more complete solution.
Even the most used Last-click model does not actually reflect on the user’s conversion journey. 80% of people switch between video and search inventories before converting.
Think about the below; how many campaign types and channels your customers are exposed to before making a sale? This is why classic search campaign types on a tCPA or tROAS won’t drive growth for your brand on their own…
One of the key takeaways for us, was being smacked in the face that our passion to grow our clients is perhaps negatively impacting our performance. It’s common to want to see success and ‘prove the investment’ early on, but in hindsight, when we meddle too soon, we’re just eroding our chances for success over a longer period. And in turn, we aren’t allowing these new initiatives and campaign types to prove their role in the customer buying cycle
Perhaps we need to buy ‘finger jackets’ for the team to stop the urge to optimise days into a new campaign launch?!
If you’d like to learn more about diversifying your Google Ads set up and focus on engaging and driving more new and in-market customers into your sales funnel, we’d be happy to set up a chat with one of our team!
Full credit for slides and imagery used for this blog to the Google Partners team.